Locke And Descartes Research Paper

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Locke and Descartes Origin of Ideas Where do our ideas originate? Are things conceived because we are born with innate ideas built in to help make sense of things? Or do all of a person's ideas originate from things that come from experience. The two men that support each of these ideas are John Locke and Rene Descartes. Both philosophers play a major role in the world of philosophy however, their views on the origin of ideas are basically polar opposites. While the two men have compelling arguments they both have their ups and downs. It is a tough choice decision but of the two I would have to side with John Locke and the idea of empiricism and disagree with Descartes and his belief that ideas are inate. After going over both of these men's…show more content…
This quote is taken from Descartes when he conducted his piece of wax thought experiment. This experiment helps support the rationalist view and goes against that of Locke and the empiricists. The experiment starts with Descartes getting a fresh piece of wax. The size of the wax was visible and permanent, it had a distinct feel to it, its surface would have made a clear noise if struck and it had a specific shape, color and smell. What Descartes does next with this wax is put in a fire to change its properties. The result of this changes everything of our original perception of the piece of wax. The wax is now different in size, it has lost its hardness, the color and scent has changed, it is no longer cold and striking it will cause it to make a new sound. Our idea of the original piece has completely altered. So what does this tell us? It means that perceptions of the mind that come from the senses can be tricked or doubted. Our senses said the wax was cold and hard but now it has become hot and…show more content…
As stated previously he is a empiricists which means that all he believes that all of our ideas originate from experience. A theory that Locke has to prove his empiricists position is the principle of identity. The definition of this principle states simply that whatever is, is. A thing is the same as itself. An example of this would be X = X. This cannot be doubted or disproven in anyway. Another principle of Locke's is the principle of non- contradiction. What this principle says is that a thing or idea cannot both be and not be at the same time. An example of this would be a typed piece of paper, a paper is white but it also black due to the ink from the words. We can conclude that the paper is not just a white or black paper but rather a white paper with black typed on

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